We purchase health insurance to safeguard ourselves from financial turmoil during medical emergencies. Considering that such plans are financially responsible for the quality of your healthcare services, you require a comprehensive plan. Finding a policy that comprises all the features you need and yet hits the sweet spot of affordability takes a lot of work.

This is where health insurance add-ons come into play. Such riders are meant to customise your plan while keeping it pocket-friendly (since rider charges are usually low). Now, while the popularity of health insurance plans in the market and the rising competition among insurers has led to multiple new health insurance add-ons, you need to analyse which are value-worthy and meet your medical requirements and financial bandwidth.

What are Health Insurance Add-ons?

Health insurance add-ons or riders are customisable options that are additions to your base plan. This ensures that we have protection for certain situations that your base plan may or may not cover.

There are several add-ons available across the industry, but not all of them may prove to be worth it. Let’s explore these add-ons in detail now!

What are the Top Health Insurance Add-Ons?

  1. Protector Rider

Brief: Almost all top-notch health insurers provide this rider. While the product names might differ, they all provide similar benefits, including -

  • Protects against inflation - The sum assured by the policy increases as per the inflation every year.
  • Covers consumables - Consumables are the products used while the policyholder is hospitalised. This includes syringes, surgical tape, bandages, etc. These are usually not covered by the base policies but are covered with this add-on.
  • No-claim Bonus Protection - If your claim is below a specific limit in a policy year, your no-claim bonus will be protected for the following year.

Drawback (if any): This rider causes a small increase in premiums. However, considering the benefits this health insurance add-on fetches, this cost bump is a small price to pay.

Top Health Insurance Plans Offering this Add-on: HDFC ERGO Optima Restore, Care Advantage, Niva Bupa ReAssure 2.0

2. Maternity Coverage

Brief: Maternity costs are the costs associated with pregnancy and childbirth. These are a huge financial commitment for most couples, which is also why most policies don't cover maternity benefits. In case your base plan doesn't have maternity cover, this rider will cover it.

Drawback (if any): Maternity coverage often has a long waiting period, and both spouses should purchase it. Apart from this, the premiums would be higher, and the sub-limit for maternity cover may not cover all the expenses.

However, depending on the policy, this rider may result in immediate coverage for the newborn's vaccination expenses and potential coverage for congenital disorders within the first 90 days.

You can consider comparing the premiums with and without the rider to make an informed decision.

Top Health Insurance Plans Offering this Add-on: Care Supreme, Care Plus Youth Family Floater, Niva Bupa Aspire Miracle,  Aditya Birla Activ Health, Aditya Birla Activ Fit, HDFC ERGO my: health Women Suraksha and HDFC ERGO my: credit Comprehensive Suraksha, ICICI Lombard Health AdvantEdge

Note: Niva Bupa Aspire Miracle has a Future Ready add-on. Had you purchased the policy when you were 25 years old and opted for Future Ready feature, if you get married at 29 and you add your spouse, you and your spouse don’t need to serve the waiting period because you had already done it.


3. OPD Coverage

Brief: OPD Consultancy is a rider that covers visits to clinics or hospitals for minor issues like fever or cough. With this rider, the insurance company covers the expenses up to a specified limit instead of paying out of pocket for each visit.

Drawback (If any):  We believe that the OPD Consultancy rider may not be beneficial in most situations due to numerous restrictions – you can only claim up to a specific limit every time you go to the doctor, you can go only to specified doctors by the insurance companies, etc.

Apart from this, the premiums also increase by a similar amount to the OPD coverage you’re getting—say you’re getting ₹5,000 in OPD coverage; your premiums will probably increase by ₹4,000 or ₹4,500.

You're better off paying out of pocket every time you go to the doctor instead of paying this amount upfront to the insurance provider.

Top Health Insurance Plans Offering this add-on: Care Supreme, Care Advantage, Care Heart, Aditya Birla Ativ Fit, Aditya Birla Activ Health, HDFC ERGO my: health Suraksha

4. International Coverage

Brief: Several policies are highly comprehensive and cover almost everything one needs, but they may not have certain features, such as international cover. Depending on the policy, this rider covers international treatments, whether emergency or planned.

Drawback (If any): In most cases, even if you travel abroad, travel insurance is more than enough to cover emergency hospitalisations. But if you need planned hospitalisations covered – say some treatment is only available in the US or UK hospitals – it would be covered, but not to the extent you might expect.

Most International riders exclude developed countries such as the United States, Canada or the United Kingdom. This is because the cost of treatment there would be too high compared to the premiums paid in India.

This is useful if you're an entrepreneur or businessperson who travels abroad frequently. If you check these boxes and feel the premium increase is justified, feel free to opt for this rider while purchasing your policy.

You must also remember that planned hospitalisations may not always be covered, depending on the policy.

Top Health Insurance Plans Offering this Add-on: Aditya Birla Activ Health, Care Plus, Bajaj Allianz My Health Care, TATA AIG MediCare Plus, HDFC my: health Critical Suraksha Plus, Niva Bupa Health Premia.

5. Unlimited Restoration

Brief:  Restoration is an additional sum the insurer adds to your policy once a claim is made. Specific policies offer the restoration perk only once, while others offer it for an unlimited number of times. Purchasing this add-on will do the trick if your policy does not have unlimited restoration benefits by default.

Drawback (If any): This will increase the premium by a small percentage.

Top Health Insurance Plans Offering this Add-on: Optima Secure, Optima Restore Aditya Birla Activ Assure Diamond policy, Care Advantage

6. Reduction in PED Waiting Period

Brief: Almost all health insurance policies impose a waiting period on pre-existing diseases. This usually lasts 3-4 years, but this rider will reduce that waiting period.

We feel that this add-on is good to have if you’re suffering from a pre-existing disease. It is always better to disclose that to the insurance company and opt for this rider than hide it.

Drawback (If any): We would prefer you choose a plan with a lower pre-existing waiting period. However, if you have a pre-existing medical condition, a senior citizen having difficulty finding a suitable policy, or have come upon a suitable plan whose only drawback is a longer waiting period, this rider makes sense.

Top Health Insurance Plans Offering this Add-on: Care Supreme, Care Advantage, Niva Bupa ReAssure 2.0 (Disease Management Rider), Star Comprehensive Insurance policy, HDFC ERGO my: health Suraksha, Niva Bupa ReAssure 2.0

7. Co-Payment Waiver

Brief: Most plans that are being offered to people with multiple PEDs or people of advanced age will have several restrictions, and co-payment is one of the more common ones. Opting for this rider will either reduce your copayment percentage or get rid of it completely.

Drawback (If any): Will increase the premium by a small percentage.

Top Health Insurance Plans Offering this Add-on: Care Advantage, Aditya Birla Activ Health policy, Care Supreme, Care Classic and Care Saksham plans

8. Hospital cash

Brief: Your health insurer will pay you an amount for a fixed period when you’re hospitalised, up to a specified limit mentioned in the policy documents.

Drawback (If any): We feel that this rider will not be helpful because

  • most policies offering this will pay only for a limited number of days,
  • most policies will cover this only on a reimbursement basis and
  • the premiums also increase because of this.

Top Health Insurance Plans Offering this Add-on: Optima Secure, Optima Restore,  Niva Bupa ReAssure 2.0, Aditya Birla Activ Health policy, Star Medi Classic, Bajaj Allianz Global Personal Guard, Care Advantage

9. Personal Accident Insurance

Brief: In case you encounter an accident, your health insurer will pay a lump sum in addition to the base sum insured. But you must remember that all health insurance policies cover accidents from day 1. There is no waiting period for this, and this same rider is available with term insurance, too.

Drawback (if any): This rider is also available with term insurance, where the premium is likely to be much lower and the payout higher.

Top Health Insurance Plans Offering this Add-on: Optima Restore, Niva Bupa ReAssure 2.0, Aditya Birla Activ Assure Diamond, Bajaj Allianz Global Personal Guard Insurance, Care Advantage, ICICI Lombard Health AdvantEdge

10. Critical Illness

Brief: Each policy has a list of certain critical illnesses. If you are diagnosed with a disease from this List, you receive a lump sum payment over and above the base sum insured.

Drawback (If any): If you opt for this, the payout may or may not be from the base sum insured. This rider is also available with term insurance, where there is a good chance the premium will be much lower and the payout will be higher.

Having this add-on would be helpful, but this shouldn't be a dealbreaker, and you shouldn’t choose a plan because it has this add-on.

Top Health Insurance Plans Offering this Add-on: Aditya Birla Activ Health (gets activated after a survival period of 15 days), Bajaj Allianz Health Care Supreme,  HDFC ERGO Easy Health and Maxima, ICICI Lombard Health AdvantEdge, Niva Bupa Health Premia

11. Room Rent Modifier

Brief: Some plans have a room rent limit. Although we usually do not recommend plans with such limits, it is unavoidable in certain situations.

For a cancer patient in remission, finding a plan is cumbersome. While you may be able to find plans, they may be expensive and may not be as comprehensive.

In this case, if you find an affordable plan with a room rent limit, this rider will be helpful.

Drawback (If any): This will increase the premium by a small percentage.

Top Health Insurance Plans Offering this Add-on: Care Supreme. Aditya Birla Activ Assure Diamond, HDFC ERGO my: health Koti Suraksha, Niva Bupa Health Recharge

Should You Purchase Health Insurance Add-ons?

  • Advantages of Availing of Health Insurance Add-ons
  1. Customisation: If you found the perfect policy, but it doesn’t have just one feature, you can purchase an add-on to cover that. You can make a plain vanilla policy into a comprehensive one by buying the right add-ons.
  2. Affordable Access: A policy with all the bells and whistles is normally expensive. If you don’t want to purchase that plan but may need some of its features down the line, you can consider purchasing a more affordable plan with these add-ons.
  • Disadvantages of Availing of Health Insurance Add-Ons
  1. Available only to the primary holder: In the case of a family floater policy, the rider is available only to the primary insured.
  2. Additional Cost: Add-ons will not increase the base sum insured, but it will increase the premium.

Tips to Consider When Purchasing a Health Insurance Add-On

#Tip 1: Always compare the premiums with and without the rider to make sure that the increase is justified for the benefits you’re getting.

#Tip 2: Riders also have specific exclusions. They don’t cover everything, and we should also consider these exclusions while purchasing.

#Tip 3: Each add-on also comes with waiting periods. We should ensure that this is the least. A good policy/add-on should have the least waiting period.


In general, health insurance plans are pretty comprehensive. However, finding the right balance between affordability and comprehensiveness is an uphill task. Especially if you're a senior citizen or have pre-existing conditions and find a policy that mostly fits your needs but lacks a couple of essential features, you can consider adding a rider if the insurer has one.

While selecting add-ons, you must also consider your medical requirements and financial bandwidth. They must provide genuine value to your policy, especially because numerous options are available across the industry.